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CLEVELAND — It seems fitting that a contestant on the third season of The History Channel’s reality show “Top Shot” would visit Hillsville during the Labor Day Gun Show and Flea Market.
Gary Quesenberry, who hails from Sylvatus, aims to help the community while here.
The target involves promoting the Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Home Foundation.
Quesenberry, a newly promoted supervisory agent for Homeland Security at its Cleveland offices, describes himself as the only member of his family who left Carroll County.
With his new promotion, he’s set his sights on coming back more often.
In appearing on “Top Shot,” Quesenberry follows his good friend Simon “J.J.” Racaza, who appeared in season one.
“Top Shot” resembles many reality shows and competitions — the 16 contestants live in a house and face challenges and eliminations until a winner emerges.
When they wake up in the morning, they have a new firearm to practice with and their challenges stem from that.
Producers formed teams, with the initial challenge of contestants going up against their counterparts — Quesenberry faced off against the other Homeland Security agent on the show, using a Smith and Wesson 500 that "kicks like a mule."
The winners went to the blue team and losers joined the red. Quesenberry went to the struggling red team.
He hadn’t been put up for elimination by the fourth episode this season.
(Contestants are not allowed to reveal their outcome before it airs on the television show.)
“It was a real privilege for me to be able to get there and showcase some of my talents on national television,” Quesenberry said.
He attributes his success directly to what he learned from his family as he grew up in Sylvatus.
“My dad taught me how to shoot,” he recalled. “When I was 17, I joined the army and the military polished up my skills a little bit...”
Quesenberry served in Dessert Storm, and he decided that he wanted a career path where he could serve his country.
After getting settled in in northern Ohio, Quesenberry decided that Labor Day weekend was a good chance to get home. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the gun show,” he explained. “Now that I’m closer, I’m very willing to make the drive.”
He’ll use his visit home and his “15 minutes of fame” to benefit the historic Carter Home and raise money for projects the foundation needs.
Quesenberry wanted to give back to the community that gave him so much. He praised the efforts to revitalize downtown and the historic home and wants to help keep that momentum going.
He invited the public to see him at the Carter Home on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. He encouraged people to bring their cameras and he’ll sign autographs.
Donations to the Carter Home will be welcomed.
He remembers watching many a parade from the vicinity of the five-story home on Main Street.
“I remember thinking as a kid that was where [former President] Jimmy Carter lived, because why else would they call it the Carter home?” Quesenberry joked.
Elizabeth Huff, Carter Home Foundation president, said there’s a lot of interest in the historic home and it’s getting a lot of use recently.
It also has many needs remaining. The first and second floors recently reopened after major renovations, but there are still the upper three floors to work on, plus the need for a new furnace, she noted.
“We’re really excited about having a TV personality to come and visit us and we think it’s extremely nice of him to give back to the community that he came from,” Huff said.
• Season 3 of "Top Shot" airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on The History Channel.